England. 1800s. The family of a young Royal Navy officer killed in action on a mission to capture a French privateer in 1798 install a memorial tablet in their church to commemorate his life and service to King and country.
Lieutenant Oliver Anson, a distant relative of the illustrious circumnavigator George Anson and the younger son of a Kent clergyman, led the raid bidding to capture the gun brig Égalité hiding in a small Normandy harbour. But when it all goes wrong, Anson is felled by a musket ball in the head and is among the dead and wounded left ashore after his shipmates seek the refuge of their ship HMS Phryne.
Only – and despite official newspaper reports to the contrary – the less-than-god-fearing Anson turns out not to be dead at all but very much alive, and stuns even fellow seamen with his miraculous resurrection. It is, however, far from plain sailing for the prisoners to escape from behind enemy lines and get back across the Channel.
And the resourceful and ambitious Anson is then dealt a hammer blow by the admiralty when he is later denied a new sea-going appointment. Instead his future is to be an unattractive-looking, land-based role with the Sea Fencibles – tasked with foiling any potential French invasion attempt along the Kent coastline.
Perhaps worse, sea rover Anson finds himself falling into the clutches of a local bigwig’s voluptuous and determined daughter who is desperate to find a husband...
The Normandy Privateer charts the ups and downs of Lieutenant Anson and shines a poignant light on the loneliness and responsibilities of command.